Carpenters Workshop Gallery and Steinitz at Design Miami/ Basel 2013

In what is perhaps the most elaborately constructed “booth” ever executed at Design Miami/ BaselCarpenters Workshop Gallery and Steinitz Gallery have come together to create a daring immersive environment that dovetails contemporary pieces with works of antiquity. The result is an ambitious exhibition that challenges the viewer’s sense of time, place, and memory. 

Developed over a six month process, the structure is a fully-enclosed, three-room edifice replete with tall ceilings, wooden floors, and paneled walls. Walking in feels like entering the lavish, exquisitely designed home of a collector, though it’s impossible to pinpoint what era this collector might reside in. Spending time in the rooms, one is entranced by the dialogue between multiple time periods and cultural traditions. 

Carpenters Workshop Gallery, based in Paris and London, contributed works by present-day furniture makers, artists, and object designers including Andrea Branzi, Atelier Van Lieshout, Johanna Grawunder and others. Wendell Castle is debuting a signature organic sculpture which pops with a present-day sensibility, as does a modish grey couch created by Robert Stadler specifically for this project. Others though are less distinguishable from the antiques, including the grandiloquent sculptured cabinet modeled on the Chartres Cathedral in France created by Studio Job. 

While the contemporary works are easily traceable, many of the objects coming from Steinitz have unknown origins. Known for its relentless pursuit of rare objects, Steinitz incorporates works of extraordinary provenance from their unrivaled collection, including gilded 17th-century panels that ornament the walls. Herculean busts, oriental cabinets, and antiquarian rugs are found throughout, confronting and meshing with the contemporary works of Carpenters Workshop that dwell alongside them. 

The thread throughout the rooms is the sense of discovery – an appreciation for the spark that has driven the creation of art and design since the dawn of humanity. Carpenters Workshop Gallery and Steinitz have brought about a stellar exhibit, one that seamlessly entwines historic lineage and commercial design.

Rob Goyanes

Design Miami/ Design Log

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